In an open letter the car industry has called for London’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) to be “harmonised” and include the same standards for both petrol and diesel vehicles.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) has stated that is supports and applauds the proposals but urged a rethink to drive innovation and the uptake of low emission vehicles.
The current ULEZ proposals will charge the most polluting diesel vehicles £12.50 a day. However, older petrol cars that do not comply with the latest Euro 6 standard will be allowed into the zone. SMMT noted that a typical 14 year old Euro 4 car has carbon emissions some 72% higher than the new European car fleet average.
As a result, the organisation states that the ULEZ should be stricter or risk consumer uptake of old petrol vehicles increasing.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The implementation of the ULEZ will accelerate the take-up of ultra low and low emission vehicles, but a harmonisation of standards – a technology neutral approach – for petrol and diesel vehicles would strengthen this initiatives. Currently the proposed requirements differ for cars and vans.”
He added that the automotive industry is investing billions of pounds to develop technologies to lower vehicle emissions and the ULEZ could accelerate the take up of these technologies whilst bringing “air quality and carbon reduction benefits to London sooner”.
The letter, addressed to London mayor Boris Johnson, argues that if the ULEZ is implement correctly it could set the precedent for other cities around the world, many of which face similar air quality challenges.
It continues, “The UK’s automotive industry want to see London leading the way – addressing air quality and climate change, whilst driving innovation, affordable mobility, jobs and growth.”
Looking to the future, Hawes commented, “We need an integrated approach on air quality at local, regional, national and European level. Fleet renewal, or the uptake of new vehicles on the road, is critical in reducing emissions.”
Photo: Riley Kaminer via Flickr